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Biblical Purpose

Biblical Purpose of Work

Biblical Purpose of Work:

As servants of Christ, we are called to offer God our professional time. To truly understand how to provide your work-time to God, you need to understand the biblical purpose of your work. The intrinsic purposes for work include working to give, working to grow, and working to guide.  

We talked about significance versus success in an earlier chapter. When you see your work as sacred, the goal shifts from finding importance rather than purpose. In finding meaning, you work to give. What can you give of yourself to your workplace? How can you add value to the life of the people around you? 

Joseph was placed in the palace to give advice. His wisdom saves Egypt from the famine. The best jobs allow you to provide the best of you. The best jobs will enable you to express yourself. You experience job satisfaction. 

Wherever you are, you must seek to give value to the industry you are in. When you are giving an expression of your highest, most creative, and intelligent faculties, then you are contributing to your workplace. No matter your position in your office, if you are giving your best, you are offering something valuable—something that God will find pleasure in. Your offering is a heart issue, more than a position issue.  

Growth and Giving

Some jobs are about your growth and not only about giving.  How many of you reading this hate your job right now? It will be difficult to hate your job once you have made your shift from sacred to secular, wouldn’t it? However, how many of you hated your job before you made that shift? 

Before God sent Moses to rescue Israel from slavery, Egyptians enslaved them. For four hundred years, they were very bitter. What was the picture? The children of Israel were crying from the bitterness of their work. When Moses came to deliver God’s message, the Pharaoh made it worse. He must have said, “Now you’re going to make bricks without straw, just because someone is around you talking about freedom.  Now I’m going to show you who’s in charge. You’re going to make bricks without straw.”  

Although not literally, the picture of the Israelite suffering can be related to how we suffered in our jobs. It was mental and physical exhaustion. Most people feel like they are trapped in this secular job. It felt as if we were limited and insignificant. 

But here’s what God said to them.  “When you come out, you will come out with great riches.  I will bring you out with great riches.”  And I know what most of us think that means.  We think it means it’s because they borrowed jewels from their Egyptian neighbors, and they took the jewels into the wilderness. If that’s how we are interpreting this Scripture, then we have missed the point.  The riches they came out with were the knowledge and the skillset for building an empire of their own.    

Building Skills

You see, what the Pharaoh did not realize is that he had inadvertently taught the art of mason building because they built his treasure cities. So while the Israelites were working at a job, they hated, they were learning a skill set that they could take into a job they would love.  So when you are in a toxic working environment that you’re hating, it’s not about, “God, get me out of here!” Instead, it is about “God, what can I learn here because I’m growing in this environment.” 

When you look at this job, you cannot help but hate and think about God’s purpose. What is the Boss’ purpose? Why am I here? Think about this: “I’m not going to be here the rest of my life. I am here for the learning, not the earning, but the transferrable skills.” 

What came out of Egypt was not a set of enslaved people but a skilled workforce, a task force who had been trained indirectly in the art of mason building.  The issue is that you can take the skills sets from this job into another career venture.  Sometimes, the purpose of the work is just for growth.   

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Biblical Purpose of Work

Work is the Premise of the Sabbath

Sabbath is Sacred but Temporary

Let us balance this out. Sabbath is important. Sabbath is sacred to the Lord. However, Sabbath was not intended to be a permanent state. Some of us have been taking Sabbaths without going to work. This is not natural behavior. We were not designed this way.  

We have been so focused on the Sabbath as a religious event that we have failed to connect it with the rest of the six days. The Sabbath is a part of the week of the Lord. The week of the Lord is about the work He wants for us to do. You can have something that you are working on, in, or through for six days of your life.  

According to the ministry He has placed you in, you are supposed to be working for the Lord for six days. The ministry He has placed you in occurs in your workplace. The work you do six days a week justifies the Sabbaths in your life. 

What if God didn’t do any work on the first day through the sixth day and then said, “The seventh is a Sabbath.” However, other people try to work through the seventh. Entrepreneurs tend to work on things. Employees tend to work on things. Homemakers and people working in the domestic tend to be working through things. You get tired of just working monotonously at the same thing because you have failed to complete the Career Mandate by stopping to rest and review the work that you have done. 

Work is not what is causing you to experience fatigue. What you’re working on, what you’re working with, what you’re working through, and what you’re working in that’s frustrating you. If the environment changes, you would love creating because it is part of your innate nature.  

We need to feel productive.

Imagine this scenario. You take time off to go to the beach for a vacation. When you get there, you lay down on the first day to relax. After a while, you get a tan from the sun.

On the second day, you do the same thing again and get tanner. On the third day, you bring a book or your iPod with you thinking, “I’ve got to listen to something because I’m just lying here, and I’m browning off now.” 

Has anyone ever been in this situation before? “I’m browning off. Now, I can do something. So, I’m going to lie here, and then I’m going to get up, and I’m going to go for a dip, and then I’m going to come back. Let’s go down the road. Let’s go and see whatever else is there to do.” In this vacation, you feel the urge to do something. You cannot just lie around on the sand doing nothing.  

Work is the premise of the Sabbath, isn’t it?  Isn’t the Sabbath more meaningful because you did your work?  The Sabbath becomes a great time because you have made yourself productive all-week round. 

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The Favor Upon God’s Insider

The Favor Upon God’s Insider

The Insider works six days a week and is the most well-liked and accomplished group member. The fact that you are taking this stance allows your coworkers to investigate and learn more about what makes you so favored. This creates a window of opportunity for influence.

According to the principle God has laid out for you here, you are required to work on, in, or through things for six days. On the seventh day, you take the opportunity to rest, recover, and review your progress. Recuperation is an essential component of the work experience. People who don’t take time to rest become exhausted. The length of your sabbatical can range from one day to a week and even up to a month. There may even be a sabbatical year in your life, but the most important thing is to take time to step back and recharge your batteries.

We have constructed an entire religion around the seventh. When we look at it, we see it as a religious tradition, according to which you should not work on Saturday and Sunday. When, in reality, according to the Career Mandate, Sabbath is a necessary part of your job duties, you should take it. This is the part of your job where you take a step back and relax a little. Because rest is an integral part of one’s work, it can be considered a religious act and a work-related activity. The fact that you can rest indicates that you have faith in God enough to follow His commandment.

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Shabbat

“Shabbat”

“Shabbat”

You are required to have a career. “Shabbat” is the Hebrew word for the Sabbath. Where did the Sabbath start? It did not begin when the Lord passed down the Law to Moses. No, it started right there in Creation. When God chose to create the world the way He did, He was creating a model. In six days, He made everything, and on the seventh, He rested. Having said that, God already presented a model for our Career Mandates, wherein the Sabbath is a significant part of the process.  

The Sabbath is not a ritual. Moreover, it is not a traditional practice. The Sabbath is a spiritual law. Furthermore, it is a principle. Moreover, it is not how you religiously observe the Sabbath. It is why you do it. Why do we keep the Sabbath? 

Keeping the Sabbath is Our Obedience to God

We keep the Sabbath to obey God. We support the Sabbath holy to show Him that we work because of Him and for Him. Moreover, we keep the Sabbath holy to create an opening for people to see that God gives us the grace to get things done even when we do not work seven days a week. God gives us the grace to be productive in the six days allotted for work.  

People cannot accomplish all the tasks they can do in seven days. How can you, who only works six days a week, be able to do it excellently? Your officemate will wonder, “I’m here 24/7, working until my back breaks, but you only work 5-6 days a week, but you are the one who gets promoted! How does that make sense?”  

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Shabbat

Taking Your Sabbath is a Stand

Taking Your Sabbath is a Stand

The Purpose of Rest

Why does a God with omnipotence even need to rest? Was He tired? No. He was showing us something foundational. God revealed how our career mandate must unfold through the Creation account. This blog will talk about the purpose and value of rest in fulfilling our Career Mandate.  

What is He doing? God introduces Himself to us as a creative God who manifests His intentions in stages and phases. He reviews the stages, and then He rests. He has revealed to us how He steps back from the project.  

God is teaching us how resting is an essential part of creating. Stepping back for a season is vital. God has already shown us how we must “do” work from the very beginning. Taking a Sabbath from a week of work is a stand. It is a stand of your faith.  

Even when we dread work, most of us live in the office. How many of you have punched in countless overtimes? How many of you consider yourselves workaholics? Keeping the Sabbath shows for whom we are working. It shows where we put our faith.  

Trust God, Not Your Strength

When you fail to keep the Sabbath holy, when you use the Sabbath to work, it reveals that you are trusting in your abilities. Why would you work on a Sabbath? It is mostly because you are afraid to lose your job. You are worried that you will be unable to finish the tasks you can do. You are relying on yourself.  

When you rest on your Sabbath, it shows that you want to obey God at the end of the day. It proves that you are relying on God’s strength, not yours. Keeping your Sabbath day holy shows that you understand that your career will be blessed if you obey God. This is one of the reasons why we “do” work differently than the rest of the work. We take rest seriously. 

We all required the rest. God declared this commandment to Moses. This commandment pertains to our work behavior.  

 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns.For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. (Exodus 20:8-11) 

 

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Sabbath

Your Commitment To Your Mandate

Your Commitment To Your Mandate

“Every person needs to take one day away.  A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future.  Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence.  Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for.  Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.” 

Maya Angelou 

Power Truth 

“Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work. It is a Sabbath to the Lord in all your dwelling places. 

Leviticus 23:3 

Have you ever heard of people saying, “You know what, I’m waiting, Bishop. When I find out what my ministry is, that’s when I’m going to give it 100%”. You will find your ultimate ministry in life as you serve, not as you wait. As you serve the church, as you serve your workplace, as you serve your family, you will see what you are good at. You will recognize your gifts and your passion. You won’t see it, sitting on the couch all day, waiting for the Lord to reveal it to you. 

Personal Application 

  1. What is keeping you from worshipping God with your work? 
  2. How can you make your work your worship? 
  3. Have you discovered your faithful ministry in life? If so, what is it? 

Mandate: 

Points to Ponder on 

  • Each one of us has a career mandate.  
  • God assigned Adam his “Career Mandate,” Adam worshiped God through his obedience. 
  • It is unnatural to have no work.  
  • The job of pastors is only to equip every believer to conquer the field or industry they are assigned to be Insiders in.  
  • Ministry is service. Your work is your service.  

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You Were Designed for Your Career Mandate

You Were Designed for Your Career Mandate

Where are you taking God’s Kingdom?

We are so interested in where God is, while He is interested in where we are. We should understand that God’s presence is not limited to the church facility. He is where you are.  

Our pastors are not the only full-time ministers. However, the job of pastors is only to equip every believer to conquer the field or industry they are assigned to be Insiders. That is what we are trying to do here. Moreover, we are trying to equip you to be God’s Insider in the industry you are working in. All of us are called to be full-time ministers in our workplaces. 

Mandate: 

There is a mandate. You are required to work because God designed you for it. Each person who goes according to their design to glorify and worship the Lord ministers to God. Thus, if you are working and doing it primarily to honor God and secondarily earn a living, you are a full-time minister. 

Being the Salt

Do you know what happens to anything that doesn’t fulfill its purpose? Like the salt that loses its saltiness, everything that does not fulfill its purpose will be thrown out. Jesus said this, didn’t he? Why keep the salt if it has no saltiness to show for it? 

Think about it. What would you do if you ate dinner and saw salt and pepper on your table? The salt looks like salt, but it’s not salty. What would you do? You would see it to have no purpose for it to be on the table.  

How many times have you asked God, “I’d like to know what my purpose is in life? What is my purpose?” If you have asked this before, I want you to say to yourself: “Ministry is my purpose.” It’s so simple. Ministry is service. Having said that, your work is your service. In fact, your purpose on earth is to serve, contribute, and make a difference. In the same light, you are called to service. That’s it. This is your purpose. 

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Battlefield

Your Work is Your Battlefield

Your Purpose and Your Battlefield

Your workplace is your battlefield. God said, “Sir, you’re going to find your purpose, your career calling. Then you’re going to find Eve.” In most cultures, this is normal. Unfortunately, we live in a twisted culture in the United States that accepts unemployment as a norm. No father would have ever given his daughter to a man that did not have a career calling. In most cultures, this would not happen. But it’s happening to most of us in our twisted rendition of the American culture.  

If you think about it, low self-esteem and high levels of desperation push people into unnatural and unspiritual relationships. This false mindset is what the enemy is doing in our culture. Mighty men of God, no woman is going to despise you for not being able to get a job. But she is going to hate you for still being in bed when she’s gone out.  

Paul supports this Career Mandate. Paul tells us, “Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8). How can you provide for your household? You provide by having a job. If you don’t have a job, your full-time job is finding a job. Get up and find a job.  

Where is your battlefield? 

If there is a Career Mandate, this means that our Commander, Jesus Christ, has already revealed to you where your battlefield is. The work you have is where you conduct your wrestling match. Your workplace is your battlefield. 

God goes to work with His people every single day. If you work in a school, God goes with you there. Let’s say you work in a mall. God goes with you there. What if you work in a law firm? God goes with you there. If you work for the government, God goes with you there. Wherever you are working, God is there because you are there. 

Many of us want to go into full-time ministry with the church because our career calling is not equivalent to full-time ministry. Because of this theology of separation that we are used to, we see our work to be unrelated to ministry work for God.  

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Order of Creation : Calling Then Family

Calling and Family

God placed man’s career calling ahead of his wife and his family in the order of creation. Do not get me wrong. We are not trying to create a conflict between home and work life.  

If you are a single woman reading this, I am saying that God wants you to marry someone who has already discovered his destiny and purpose. I’m saying that the worst thing you could do is to marry someone who has no career calling with their life because that’s an unnatural state. Ladies, you are supposed to be with someone who already has a relationship with God and, secondly, someone who has already received his calling from the Lord. Gentlemen, before you go out seeking for your mates, seek God first and seek the calling you have in Him.  

It is unnatural to have no work. We find ourselves in this mess in society when we’re marrying people with unemployed, idle minds. We find ourselves in a mess when we settle for marrying people with no vision and purpose. Ladies, it is unnatural for men to live off you.  

God said, “It’s not going to happen. Adam, you are going to be working when Eve meets you. When Eve lays eyes on you for the first time, you will be working.” This picture was what God intended for relationships between husbands and wives. Please, do not use up the excuse that times are hard and you could not get a job. Suppose you cannot get a job or volunteer. Do not sit around and be idle, asking when God will show you your wife.  

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Work

Blessed to Have Work

When God made Adam, the first thing he does is work. During this time, the world was perfect because sin had not entered the world yet. The perfection that Adam and Eve had experienced was not reflected in the absence of work. There was work.  

Work was not the punishment. Hard labor was the punishment. The question is, what are you experiencing right now? Are you placing yourself in the position of fulfilling your career mandate or in the position of the curse of sin? 

Adam’s Job Was a Blessing

Adam had a job. He had a business. First, God told him to keep the garden. In fac hobby that God gave Adam to help him pass the time until game consoles are created. Have you ever tried to keep a garden or even just a single plant? You know it’s a job, especially when the garden is the size of a country.  

The second job Adam was given was to name all the animals. This is intended to be a mental exercise. Moreover, the task also requires a mental database. Similarly, God intended for Adam to exercise his creativity to name things, put them into categories, and label everything.  

If you think Adam had it easy, Scripture reveals to us how he had a lot of work to do. Nor does he wake up in the morning thinking, “Oh, what to do today?” Adam wakes up in the morning with a purpose.  His first thought of the day would be: “Got to get on with my work. Got to do like my daddy does. We’re going to rest on the seventh day, but I got work to do.”  

The purpose of Adam’s existence was to worship God. How did he do it? By working. Moreover, this is true that work is even the basis of his marital relationship. If you read on, we see that it is stated, “It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make him help, meet for him (Genesis 2:18).” The whole idea here was to help.  

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Your Work, Your Worship

You Were Made for Worship

Work is our form of worship as human beings. Our purpose is to worship God. However, how come when the world was perfect, and sin had not entered the world yet, there was no worship service mentioned? There was no music. What was there for man to do? There was work. 

15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 

20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. (Genesis 2:15,20)

Worship is an expression of adoration. Moreover, it reflects how much worth you attribute to someone. When Adam was created, how did he express his adoration for the Lord? What activity was present? There was work. After, God assigned Adam his “Career Mandate” and he worshipped God through his obedience. 

You’re now cutting against the grain of your very existence to not have something to work on. You are meant to serve. You are meant to be challenged. However, you were also created to take breaks from it. The Creator revealed to us your design. Resting is part of your career mandate. Plan, review, complete, and then rest. Then, go back to work. This is your nature. 

It’s Unnatural Not To Work

Sickness occurs when you go against your design. There is a connection between purpose and health. Moreover, you were not designed to be idle. Idleness causes you to abuse your design. 

My (Bishop Malcolm’s) mother worked in the national health service for 30 years as a nurse. When she came to retire, they called her in for counseling, in order to talk through the retirement process. She asked if I would go with her and I said, “Absolutely.” I went with my mother and we sat down. A lovely lady began to talk through the mechanics of retirement, the mechanics of the process, the pensioning, the forms, and all of that. I thought, “Yeah, this is really helpful because it helps you. You know what to do, you know what to expect.” 

Then the woman turned around and said, “So, tell me about yourself. How many children?” she said. “Do you have grandchildren?” 

 “Yes.”  

“That’s really nice.” Then, the woman started to really lighten up. She said, “Are you a member of any club or society or a group?”  

Mother said, “Yes, yes. I’m an active member of my church.”  

“Oh, that’s wonderful. Do you do things in church?”  

“Oh, yes. Yes, I have roles. I run the prayer group, you know. I do all of these things.” 

 “Oh,” and I’m seeing this woman lightening up. She said, “Do you have any other hobbies? Do you garden? Do you have plants?” 

Statistical Proof of Life Expectancy

As my mother was saying stuff, the woman was getting ecstatic. I’m like, “Excuse me. Tell me why are you saying this?” The woman looked at me and she said, “Because we have statistical proof that if you have nothing to do with your life after you retire, you are going to die within the first few years.”  

“What?”  

“They said your life expectancy drops dramatically if you have nothing to do.” Then a phenomenon that I couldn’t explain suddenly made sense. The phenomenon is one that I observed in the sunny island of Jamaica. We would drive through some districts. This was Beverly Hills. This was Hollywood. These were beautiful houses that had been built by people who were working in this country. They sent their money back home to build their dream house in anticipation of retirement. They would build their dream house, retire, go back to Jamaica and within two years, they’re dead and the house is empty.  

Absolutely, it’s a sociological phenomenon. How do you spend your life building for a dream and when you get it, you’re dead? Our bodies are interconnected with our minds. They’re all part of the same system. If your mind loses purpose, the reason is, your body has no reason to continue living. There’s none. You simply start packing up and dying. The whole idea that I’m going to retire one day and spend the rest of my life on a beach is the formula for death because it’s a totally unnatural human state.  

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The Career Mandate

The Career Mandate

Each one of us has a career mandate

You have a career mandate. Did you know that? Let me guide you through Scripture to show you what this mandate is about. First, let us start with the most obvious. Is there a difference between a human being and an animal? 

No matter how “human” an animal looks like, they won’t be able to write this book, not in a million years. Our intelligence, creative capacities, and dynamic nature set us apart from animals. 

No other creature has these debates because we are worlds apart from the nearest looking human being in terms of intellect and creative capacity. This is what the bible calls the image and the likeness of God. The Bible tells us that we were created in the image and likeness of God. We are God-like beings.  

Some passages will call you a God because you are His offspring. Your spirit came from Him. Your body was made from the dust. According to Scripture, although your body was made from dust, it was only through God breathing into Adam’s nostril that man became a living soul.  

Image & Likeness

It’s not our nose that makes us like God. It’s not our hair. It is our unlimited creative capacity. Our creativity makes us unlike anything else in the world 

The first chapter of the first book in the Bible opens with this, “In the beginning, God created….” How does God introduce Himself to us? At work. What clothes was God wearing when He introduced Himself to us? Working clothes. He is working on a plan to materialize His own idea in six days, representing stages. 

How do you represent yourself?

God has introduced Himself to you. Let’s focus on that. The opening chapter of Genesis is like God saying, “This is my introduction. This is how I want you to think of me.”  

When you introduce yourself, you’re telling someone how to think of you. “I’m introducing myself to you in work clothes.” He’s Almighty. He does not have to spend six days on anything. He could say, “That’s all there.”  

But He did that for us. He did that so that it could make sense to us. God was doing something foundational for us. God created the world and everything in it to show us something. It is like God saying, “No, we’re going to stage this out. We’ve got a plan. First things first. We will do what we have got to do in the first stage, then we review the first stage, and God saw everything he did and said, ‘It is good. Okay, now the first stage is good. We can move to the second stage.’” 

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The Career Mandate